The big day (and so much more)

Its been a while since I have updated my blog but things have been somewhat mad with getting things sorted in the new (well new to us) RV and work getting much busier.

Once the deposit had been paid on the RV we had to wait a few weeks to take delivery. This was mainly because we had previously organised to go visit our friend Kath up in Lincoln and stay on her drive for a week. This had to be done in our old motorhome as her drive wouldn’t be big enough for the RV. This also gave them time to get the LPG conversion done and anything else that needs doing.

Despite having a lovely week with Kath I really couldn’t settle very well as I was in an emotional torment between being excited about getting the RV and scared witless about driving something that was in all honestly absolutely massive. As luck would have it Kath’s son James is an HGV driver and gave me some great advice which helped to calm my fears, a little.

Everything in our home for the last 18 months that had been just perfect up till now was now irritating me. There was no room, everything was cramped, making up the bed every night and breaking it down every morning. Funny how things that were OK were now not, just because we had a bigger solution just on the horizon. This also added to my torment, what if the sale fell through at the last moment and we didn’t get it? Arrrgggh

The big day finally arrived and we arrived at the dealers to find our RV all ready for us to inspect and to be shown how everything worked. OMG it was even bigger than I remember it but no time for nerves as there was so much to remember and lots of questions to ask.

Having had a good look round and been through the orientation, turning everything on and off, pressing every button, twiddling every knob and discovering storage space we didn’t know was there, we went into the office to complete the paperwork and pay the outstanding balance. Once done the transfer of all our precious possessions began.

I have sat and pondered on this for some time since but I still cannot fathom how and where the hell all that stuff was stored in that little motorhome. I mean it was vast quantities and took much longer than I expected despite the fact that Ann had done quite a bit of preparation beforehand and we didn’t even put stuff away properly, just shoving stuff in any cupboard and piling it on the bed.

After one final look round the old one to make sure we haven’t missed anything, got the dogs settled in there new seats ready for travelling and said our good byes it was time to drive out and onto the road.

Within moments of getting onto the road the screaming started. Being a left hand drive Ann was situated in the “Suicide” seat and since I had to work out just where on the carriage way I had to sit not to be hanging over the middle line she spent some time facing the terrified traffic coming the other way. I did manage to stop poor Ann from being quite so loud, and distracting, but only with a very harsh and loud “shut the f*** up” (sorry darling).

First of all we needed to get this thing filled up with fuel so following the directions we were given we found the petrol station a few miles down the road where they also sold LPG and despite it being a tight turn onto the forecourt I managed it quite easily and without hitting anything.

The filler for the engine and the domestic LPG are on opposite sides of the RV (why they did this I have no idea as its a flipping pain) so having filled up the engine LPG we drove out and up the road to a roundabout, went right around it and back to the garage so I could pull up on the other side of the pump to fill the domestic LPG and the petrol tank which is on the same side. My goodness it took a lot of petrol, 100 litres, nice big tank I thought so should be good if we cant find any LPG when abroad.

I climb back in and off we go towards the site at Cheltenham where we will be staying for a few days before the motorhome show and rally at Newark. It’s as I am about to pull off that I notice the petrol gauge is only showing half a tank. Then I thought hold on the petrol pump just stopped it didn’t do that click thing it does when your full. Ah 100 Litres is the maximum you can buy at a pump, but that is less than half a tank, oh wow it is a very big tank.

The roads from Bicester to Cheltenham are mostly single carriageway with a few bits of dual carriageway so I had to work out very quickly how close I could get to the side of the road so not to be over the centre line. Being on or just a fraction over is not too much of an issue unless there is a HGV coming the other way doing exactly the same, and they all do, and they don’t slow down. The screaming starts up again and I am desperately trying to move over more but without hitting the curb or going in the ditch which is already so close you couldn’t get bean pole between us, well so it seemed at first.

After a few dozen miles of this I started to settle into it and was able to get even closer to the edge without hitting it and Ann started to settle down and let me know quite calmly when I was drifting over the line, although I did notice she was gripping the side of her seat with white knuckles. Whilst sitting at some red traffic lights I glanced behind me at Ellie, one of our dogs, who would normally be fast asleep when we travel, to be lying there wide awake with her paw up on the arm rest and claws curled in holding on for dear life. Oh great thats all I need, thank heavens I cant see the other dog, that would send me over the edge if all three of them were holding on in fear of there lives.

Due to a little confusion over a left turn I was supposed to take we ended up having to go through the centre of Cheltenham at just the wrong time of day as the school run was in full swing and the roads were busy. It went very well and I simply just owned the road and found it a little amusing at the petrified faces of other road users as I bullied my way through. To be fair they simply stayed well clear of me and gave me plenty of room even the bus drivers were nice to me.

We arrived at our destination quite safely and with only once just clipping a curb on a centre island which ironically was just a 100 meters or so from the site entrance. Once parked up on our pitch we quickly got set up and began getting organised.

Newark Motorhome show.

Having spent a few days getting organised (well Ann did most of it) we were ready for the next trip out to the Newark motorhome show. This was mostly motorway and allowed me to relax and play with carriageway positioning without worrying about hitting a curb and work out where on the windscreen the edge of the road would be (much further over than I thought lol).

My plan was to stop twice to fill up the LPG tanks one for one side and the second for the other and also top up the petrol as we will be running the on board generator for power as we won’t be on electric hook up over the week end. This plan went well and another 100 litres of petrol went in and still was not full but near enough.

The final approach to the Newark show ground was down a narrow lane (well narrow for us) with no  centre white line and I drove down the middle of this until an oncoming car came at which I pulled right over as far as possible and stopped to allow them to squeeze past.

We had a great weekend (although my credit card disagrees and is seriously dented now) and made some great new friends. We did have a little trouble from the generator which had clearly not been run in a long time. Whilst it started OK it proceeded to spit out a lot of muck which gave us some concern. Someone did come over to have a look at it for us the following day where it proceeded to run very sweetly and cleanly so seems it was just the fact it hadn’t been run in a long while.

When we came to leave I decided that since there was a very conveniently located RV waste dump on our way out we would have a go at discharging our waste for the first time having a weeks worth of waste in it, even though the lights showing how full the black tank was still showed two thirds full, but it did almost immediately so wasn’t very confident it was correct.

It was either going to go well or if anything went wrong was going to be a very unpleasant experience and quite a good spectator sport to boot, at my expense. I could just imagine the scene, me standing there covered in raw sewage with people all around throwing up and laughing at the same time.

I was very careful to make sure the big hose was correctly hooked up and all looked correct. Putting the end of the hose down the hole and making sure I had a good hold of it (didn’t want this thing turning on me and giving me a good spraying) I told Ann to pull the handle on the left (I was pretty certain that was the black side). It emptied its contents down the hole surprisingly quickly so called to Ann to close that and open the other which again gushed the grey tank contents out and flushing any residual stuff left in the pipe.  So all went well, phew you have no idea of how relieved I was.

The drive back to Cheltenham went even better as I have really got the hang of driving it now and quite honestly love it. Putting my previous plan of topping up the LPG at different services was put into practice but went somewhat badly as it seems not all service stations on the motorways sell LPG (I thought they did but seems not) so having filled up the domestic I carried on to discover we couldn’t find another for the engine and ended up running out of LPG before I could fill up again. With a little worry in my heart I pressed the little button to switch it back to petrol which it did without missing a single beat.

We made it back to Cheltenham just fine and parked up and here we are settled now for the easter break where we have both my sons visiting and our good friend Martin. Our next trip out will be the Peterborough show in mid April.

Sorry there are no pictures this time around and I do need to get more organised which I shall try and do for the next one.

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